City of Wolverhampton Council has suspended site works on the Civic Halls’ refurbishment due to the continuing coronavirus threat.

The programme is at a stage that means it is no longer possible for employees of the contractor, Willmott Dixon Interiors, and its sub contractors to work in accordance with the UK Government guidelines and maintain the required levels of health and safety.

Workers’ welfare is paramount and the site – like many others across the country – will temporarily shut down until it is safe to recommence operations.

In the meantime, the Council will continue to engage with Willmott Dixon Interiors to progress design work and find ways to mitigate the impact which the enforced pause in works is likely to have on the programme’s cost and timeline.

Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor Harman Banger, said: “This is an extremely difficult time for the whole country. The coronavirus outbreak has had a huge impact on everyone’s lives across all sectors – and this delay to the Civic Halls programme is simply beyond our control.

“Our priority is people’s health and safety above all else and we must follow the government guidelines on site safety.

“As soon as site works are able to recommence we will promptly swing back into action to complete the improvements that will enable Wolves Civic to attract significantly more popular and prestigious entertainment acts, while retaining the current characteristics that make it popular with performers, producers and audiences.”

The iconic Grade II-listed building – affectionately known as Wolves Civic – is undergoing a £38.1 million transformation and was planned to re-open in autumn 2021.

Essential structural, engineering and electrical works are part of the programme and visitors are set to benefit from the introduction of a second balcony for the Civic Hall and a balcony in the Wulfrun Hall to provide additional seating.

The height above the stage to the rear of the Civic Hall will be increased to attract bigger and better shows.

Overall, there will be wider and more comfortable seats, bigger and better bars and more space to socialise, expanded and revamped toilet facilities to give visitors an improved experience, lift access to new balconies, better access arrangements for disabled visitors (including enhanced wheelchair access), a greater number of accessible viewing points, and improved room temperatures through the installation of a new air conditioning system.